Former Broward School Board transportation department supervisor Ann Murray is running for reelection for the Broward School Board in August. But before voters decide between her and or her opponent -- West Park City Commissioner Felicia Brunson -- there's the little matter of Murray's past use of the "N word."
Back in 2007, a year before her election to the School Board, Murray's allegedly used the racial epithet while describing the cheap seats at Sun Life Stadium.
Her use of the word became public in 2011, and Murray was called to resign by the vice president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Broward County.
See also: Activist Calls For Ann Murray To Resign
For her part, Murray, 71, apologized for the comment, though she rejected calls for her resignation from the four-year position she had won in a special election in 2008.
But in 2011, her remarks became public when fellow supervisor Lisa Spince reported in a written statement to the board that Murray had made the derogatory comment.
It was while Murray and Spince were making plans for the Super Bowl that year that Murray recalled a Miami Dolphins game they attended with others from the transportation department.
"Do you remember when a group of us from transportation came down to watch a Bills game?" Murray said, according to Spince's written statement. "Yeah, they had us up in nigger heaven."
Spince, who is white, said she commented to Murray that the term was offensive. There also happened to be an African-American bus driver nearby who overheard the conversation.
When the remarks became public, the chairwoman of the Democratic Black Caucus of Broward County, Freda Stevens, called Murray to clear the air and get a public apology.
Murray, Stevens said, went on a rant trying to explain why she used the term and went on to say she had "black blood" in her family.
"You all do not know if I have black blood in my family," Stevens said Murray told her over the phone. "I cannot make up for what happened 400 years ago. I know that some of you all are just sensitive, but I have been called names, whitey and honky. I just brushed it off."
Murray is now running against Brunson in District 1.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Brunson challenged Murray on her comments during a meeting with the paper's editorial board.
"If you can make a remark like that about African-Americans, you can make it about any other minority group," Brunson said. "It was totally insensitive and something that should not be tolerated."
Murray defended herself, telling the board that she doesn't use the N-word, except for in this one case, and that it was likely because of her poor upbringing in her native Boston.
Murray explained that the nosebleed sections at the Boston Garden in her day were known as the "N-word" seats.
Voters from the district, which encompasses Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, Miramar, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, and West Park, will be hitting up the voting booths on August 26.
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